2014’s Best in Music

2014 music

2014 was another amazing year for music. So many new artists came onto the scene and killed it! This year’s list includes not only albums, but EPs and official motion picture soundtracks as well. And, of course, Taylor Swift’s 1989 would be on this list under the song “Wildest Dreams,” but she pulled her music from Spotify and I don’t want any holes in the playlist.

In no particular order, here are my 25 picks for the best songs, albums, and artists of 2014:

1. “I Should’ve Guessed” ft. Speak, RAC, Strangers Part II: There’s just something about that light pizzicato in the chorus. It gets me every time.


2. “Speeding,” LIGHTS, Little Machines: LIGHTS, we don’t want you to stay still. Keep speeding, girl.


3. “Mind Over Matter,” Young the Giant, Mind Over Matter: Don’t shake the world too hard now, Sameer Gadhia.


4. “Are You What You Wanna Be?,” Foster the People, Supermodel: Questions to ask yourself in the new year…

5. “I Want It All,” Karmin, Pulses: Amy and Nick need to go elope already.

6. “I Need You,” M83, Divergent: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: So many amazing songs on this soundtrack, and M83 did fantastic job with this ballad.

 

7. “Freakin’ Me Out,” The Ready Set, The Bad & The Better: The song itself won’t freak you out. I promise.


8. “Feelings,” Maroon 5, V: I’ve got some feelings about Adam Levine’s falsetto…


9. “Dust Clears” ft. Noonie Bao, Clean Bandit, New Eyes: This song was my alarm tone all summer. Noonie Bao adds some serious sass to this tune, and I just can’t get enough!


10. “Runaway,” Ed Sheeran, x: Just don’t run away without releasing and ÷, Teddy.

11. “Happy Little Pill,” Troye Sivan, Happy Little Pill: Mr. Sivan, you’ve done your fans proud, YouTube and beyond.

12. “Stay With Us,” Seoul, Magestic Casual 2: As long as Majestic Casual releases another mix album, I’ll stay. Keeping a close eye on Seoul as well!


13. “Run-Time,” Imogen Heap, Sparks: Imogen Heap can do no wrong.


14. “Together” ft. Gwen Stefani, Calvin Harris, Motion: Honesty time. Every time the bridge comes around I fall into a state of utter bliss and whisper, One day…”.


15. “Simple and Sweet,” Jon Bellion, The Definition: Jon Bellion was a very pleasant surprise this year. He’s got a very nice balance between philosophical and impulsive creativity on this album.


16. “Roses,” Angus & Julia Stone, Angus & Julia Stone: Hearing “Roses” for the first time made my heart skip a beat. Indietronica! YES, PLEASE.


17. “This is Not a Game,” The Chemical Brothers ft. Miguel, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I OST: It most definitely is not a game, guys. Lorde, this soundtrack is sheer brilliance.


18. “Little Bit More” – Bodhi Remix, Bo Saris, Bondax & Friends – The Mix Album: Can I just take a moment to thank Bondax and their friends for this stellar mix album?


19. “Young Love,” Jesse McCartney, In Technicolor: Jesse McCartney brought some lovely color to the music scene this year.

20. “Teacher,” Nick Jonas, Nick Jonas: My Jonas fever will never die for this one…

21. “Espoir,” Darius, Romance: “Espoir” is French for “hopeless.” Darius might be hopelessly in love, but I have high hopes for his music.

22. “Why” ft. Nate Salman, Le Sins, Michael: “Wanna go there?” Chaz Bundick and Nate Salman take you there on this track. Still trying to figure out who Michael is though…


23. “Vanilla Chocolat” ft. Connect-R, Alexandra Stan, Unlocked: This Romanian beauty took all the romance languages she could find and used them to connect with her fans on this album. All the vanilla chocolates for you, my darling…


24. “Shot Me Down” ft. Skylar Grey, David Guetta, Listen: David Guetta demanded that we listen, and listen we did. And Skylar Grey, don’t let ’em shoot you down.

25. “Two Bodies” ft. Emma Louise, Flight Facilities, Down to Earth: Emma Louise, your voice is precious. Flight Facilities, your rhythms capture the essence of life’s absurd conundrums. And Rod Sterling, thank you for inspiring the glorious intro portion of “Two Bodies.”

 

Happy New Year, everyone!

6 Things I Learned from My Spotify #YearinMusic

Music junkie that I am, I decided to check out my year in music using Spotify. The results were curated in a pretty cool infographic, which included data about my most played artists, songs, playlists and more using the data collected from the listening habits on my Spotify account.

It was quite the education lesson, I’d say. Here are six things I learned.

1. Apparently I’m into a genre called “Metropolis.” Um, that’s a thing in music-land?

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2. I played the daylights out of RAC, Young the Giant’s Mind Over Matter and Goldroom’s Endless Summer playlist. My ears affirm this algorithmic discovery.

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3. I don’t know how Prince managed to sneak into my fall listening cycle… #ThisShouldntBeUsButHePlayin’

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4. “I Should’ve Guessed” is like, the biggest eargasm in my Starred folder on Spotify. Literally music to my ears.

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5. My music life was empty without Spotify Premium. Now I can listen on the subway all the time! (Until my three months for $0.99 is up in March :/)

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6. Apparently this is how I got over the fact that the weekend was over. Seems legit.
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Spotify also curated a playlist to drool over in 2015. Nothing really stood out to me on it, but I appreciated the opportunity to learn about some new artists!
Screenshot 2014-12-21 at 9.02.40 PMThank you for being a friend, Spotify. My ears are your biggest fans!

Rock out to my Play It Forward playlist in 2015: 

View your #YearinMusic here.

What to Buy With All That Money You Got for Christmas

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Everyone made gift guides for you to figure out what to buy others, but what about the gift guide to figure out what to buy yourself?

It’s nice to have a few people give you money so you can determine your own gift-giving destiny. It’s much easier to get stuck with a whole bunch of cash and gift cards than a pile of unwanted gifts.

Here are a few suggestions as to what you should treat yourself with this Christmas.

what to buy for christmas

1. Lush Bath Bombs, $6.25/each$72.95/set, Lush USA.
It’s been a long year. Go take a relaxing bath with one of these glorious bath bombs from Lush Cosmetics.

2. Portable Charger Stick, $18.39, Focus Camera.
Make this the year you don’t run out of phone battery.

3. Nutribullet, $89.99, Macy’s.
Start the year healthy with the infamous Nutribullet. Marcus Butler and Niomi will show you how…

(Cheaper Alternative: Magic Bullet, $49.99, Macy’s)

4. Headphone Hoodie, $19.99, Rakuten.
Jam out to your favorite tunes in your favorite hoodie!

5. Dancing Water Speakers, $29.99, Boscovs.
Who’s got the better moves, you or the water speakers?

6. Spotify Premium, $0.99/3 months,* Spotify.
What better way to use items 4 and 5 than with Spotify Premium! I just got the three month deal, which expires on New Year’s Eve,* and I love it! Take your music underground, and listen without shuffle!

7. Tablet Pillow Holder, $19.88, Walmart.
Quit straining your neck. Get a tablet pillow.

Whatever you decide to buy, I hope you enjoy it! Happy Holidays!

Maria Nichol’s Gift Box from Across the Pond

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Back in 2013 when I first started my blog, I met British fashion and entertainment blogger Maria Nichol. Since then, we’ve become buddies, and even though I never met her in person, I think she’s super cool!

We decided to do a gift swap this year. I sent my box to her in October for her birthday, and she sent mine in time for Christmas!

She took the time to write a little note to put in the box before sending:

maria letter

The box came with some awesome goodies, including Cadbury milk chocolate, temporary tattoos, eyeshadow, cupcake mittens, fake nails and so much more!

Here are my three favorite things from Maria’s box:

1. Dancing Queen

She’s got some serious hip action going on there!

2. Posh Polish

Super excited to wear this for the holidays!

3. British Telephone Booth

I’ve always wanted one of these. I keep it on top of my nightstand next to my bed.

telephone

Thanks so much for the awesome gift box Maria!

Check out Maria’s blogs:

What the Faux Pas

Heart of Glass Music

Too Sassy for You

Photo Diary: I Graduated!

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I’ve waited 16 years of my life for this moment.

On Sunday, December 21st, 2014, I walked proudly across the stage for my Bachelor’s degree in journalism. At 20 years old, I’m a happy little lady!

I was lucky enough to find two of my fellow journalism colleagues, DJ and Tatiana, before the commencement ceremony began, so we got to sit together for the 2 1/2 hour long shebang.

L-R: Tatiana, me, and DJ at the commencement ceremony.

After the ceremony, I took some fun pics with my friends and family.

manpreet and me

Manpreet, a math major, and I.

dj elisa and me

L-R: Me, DJ, and Elisa, a journalism major graduating in May 2015!

dj and I

I should have made a funny face too, but DJ didn’t warn me!

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L-R: My godmother, me, my mom, and my aunt.

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My dad and I. Wouldn’t let him that close to my face any other day.

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Mascot Kate Hofstra and I!

 

I can’t say I’m not going to miss Hofstra. I’ll miss everything about that campus, from the people I met, to the froyo at the campus’ Red Mango, all the way down to the Hofstra kitties.

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So long, Hofstra, and to my fellow colleagues graduating in the spring of 2015, I wish you all the best!

 

Winter 2014 Hibernation Playlist

Looks like the animals won’t be the only ones hibernating this winter.

Today is the day I walk across the stage with Hofstra pride to accept my Bachelor’s degree in journalism. And after today I’ll be catching up on all the sleep I’ve missed over the passed 16 years for waking up early to go to school.

Here are 14 dreamy tunes for you to fall asleep to this winter.

1. Feel It All Around, Washed Out: This track is a category five chiller. It’s so chill, you can even feel the winter chillwaves “all around yourself.”

2. The Zone, The Weeknd ft. Drake: These two will put you in the perfect zone to sink your head into that pillow and drift off onto cloud nine.

3. Tendency (Satin Jackets Remix), Estate and Liquid Pegasus: You have a tendency to fall asleep when you’re not supposed to, but this track will make you fall asleep when you need to.

4. Glowing in the Dark (Remix), Cider Sky: This song has the perfect bell-sounding synth to lull you right to sleep.

5. Mess I Made, Parachute: So you’ve made a mess of your sleep schedule. It’s okay. This song will get you back on track.

6. Sarah, RÜFÜS DU SOL: Let the somber vibe of this track put all your sadness to rest so that you can get a good night’s sleep.

7. Favorite Sound, Wilhelm Tell Me: You most definitely will not be “waking up through blurry eyes” tomorrow morning, but this might become your favorite sound.

8. Decorate, Yuna: Let Yuna’s voice decorate your brain with sweet thoughts of blissful slumber.

9. Marching Bands of Manhattan, Death Cab for Cutie: The only thing that’s going to drown is your feeling of constant drowsiness.

10. Dumbing Down of Love, Imogen Heap: Let this lovely British lady sing you a lullaby as you drift away from it all.

11. Sixteen, RAC: The interlude to your dreams awaits you.

12. Silhouette, Active Child ft. Ellie Goulding: Surround yourself with the angelic ambience of Active Child and Ellie Goulding.

13. Quiet Life, Stwo: Time for some piece and quiet.

14. 12, The 1975: This is the last call. The angels of sleep have come to take you away.

Have a healthy and well rested winter 2014!

Your Favorite Artist’s Favorite Artist @ Joshua Liner Gallery

 

There were a number of events I wanted to attend tonight, but all of them fell through. Thankfully, before leaving the city after work this evening, I remembered I wanted to go check out Zhang Jingna‘s piece at the “Your Favorite Artist’s Favorite Artist” exhibit in the Joshua Liner Gallery.

As the exhibit’s title suggests, one group of artists chose a second group of artists to be featured alongside their work in the gallery. As seen in the photo above, Kris Kuksi chose Zhang Jingna to showcase her work next to his in the exhibit.

I really enjoyed the rich colorfulness of the pieces in the exhibit. It was nice to see lots of bright color around this cold and dreary time of year.

My only gripe with this exhibit is the fact that there were no cards next to the pieces to give some information about the artist that created each one. The only piece I knew was Zhang Jingna’s.

Here are my favorite pieces from the exhibit:

1. Zhang Jingna, from The Motherland Chronicles
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2. Nature SunIMAG1940

 

3. Love
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4. Birdy BullseyeIMAG1942

Learn more about the exhibit here.

Movie Review: Zedd’s ‘Moment of Clarity’ Mini-Documentary

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“It all started with a moment of clarity,” says Zedd, reminiscing on the moment he wrote “Clarity” (feat. Foxes), the hit song that brought him into the spotlight.

The 25-year-old DJ and producer’s mini-documentary, Moment of Clarity, gives fans a behind the scenes look at last years world tour of the same name.

In the documentary, we learn that the crew only had a grand total of 8-hours of rehearsal for the tour. If they hadn’t said anything I wouldn’t have noticed, because the edits of the tour scenes were superb.

Zedd is such a busy body that one of his band members believes there are two of him, one relaxed version of him at the piano, “and another one answering emails, because he gets stuff done!”

In one part of the video, Zedd is watching his fans on Twitter tweet about the leak of “Stay the Night,” a song he recorded with Hayley Williams. “Sh*t happens,” he said after getting off the phone with his manager.

The funniest parts of this documentary are the story of how he ended up producing three songs for Lady Gaga’s Artpop and his response to how he’s holding up on the tour.

“I bought a juicer,” he tells the journalist. The scene should have cut to a smoothie tutorial. That would have been perfect.

The documentary features appearances by Skrillex, Hayley Williams, Foxes and Matthew Koma.

Watch the documentary on Vevo.

Guest Blog: Syaza of Hana Blurbs’ Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Christmas Mix and Match

This post was written by Malaysian beauty and lifestyle blogger Syaza over at Hana Blurbs. She’s all about the smiley emoticons and the super cute outfit guides. Be sure to check out her blog, and enjoy the post below!

Hello all! I am Syaza from Hana Blurbs 🙂 I am a beauty and lifestyle blogger and I could sidetrack to other types of blog niche once a while. Hehe. I’d like to thank Dana for the guest post opportunity 😀

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Anyways, Christmas is coming soon! Despite not having snow here in Malaysia, people here still celebrate Christmas 🙂 So today I will be coming out with a few recommendations of mine, I hope my style won’t be too weird for you to digest!

Outfit #1: Monochrome Boy Chic

Monochrome Boy Chic

 

Personally, my style is a little tomboy and girly at the same time. Probably with a little rebel rock vibe. Haha. I wanted to do a little twist with the jumper, so I chose an asymmetrical tulle skirt with it. Since it’s rather cold during winter (it is also chilly lately here in Malaysia!), I suggest this Dr Martens boot paired together with long knee-length socks. This is heavily influenced by Japanese style probably, despite the fact I do not read a lot of Japanese magazines. Hehe.

Next one!

Outfit #2: Candy Cane Love

Candy Cane Love

 

Another preference of mine: outfits that do not need to be sexy to look sexy. Get it? Haha. Other than that, I also want to emphasize on comfort, and for me, this set has that factor.

Outfit #3: Cutie Pie Dwarf

Cutie Pie Dwarf

 

I wanted to find something with print, but I guess tulle skirts catches my attention for this season. This outfit is suggested for a Christmas party. There are two options for shoes, same type different heights – in case one feels like dancing or doesn’t. I can imagine all shapes and sizes wearing this dress. The length is not too overwhelming for anyone, in my opinion 🙂 With the kind of hair and makeup I have attached with, it’ll definitely attract a little attention :p

And that’s all for my recommendations! I hope this will at least inspire you a little 😀 Thank you!

Follow Syaza on social media!

Twitter // Instagram // Bloglovin

November Favorites: Sean O’Pry, Swiftamine & ‘Frozen’ is Real?

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Yes, I know the November favorites are late, and I could give you a million and one reasons as to why, but how about we just stick to “better late than never”?

November’s pop culture news left me feeling extremely grateful for the humorous side of news, because boy there were some pretty awful hard news reports throughout the month.

Pop culture: restoring faith in humanity (sometimes).

So let’s get to it:

Favorite News Articles 

1. Sean O’Pry interview with Elle. After the “Blank Space” music video was released I just couldn’t get enough, man. (Side note: does anyone else notice his resemblance to Max Greenfield?!)
2. Series of Unfortunate Events is coming to Netflix as an original series! My childhood has come back to bring me long hours of binge-watching joy.
3. The unfolding of Lorde v. Diplo. Don’t mess with Taylor Swift, or her friends will come after you. “They used to shout [her] name, now they whisper it…”
4. Jennifer Lawrence’s garlic breath during Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 kissing scenes with Liam Hemsworth. After seeing the results on the big screen, I realize this was a fantastic idea (bravo Jennifer).
5. A man at a soccer game wipes his nose snot on a woman’s head. And someone just happened to catch it on Vine. #SchadenfreudeForDays

Favorite Music

1. “Sadness Disease – Rise at Night Remix” by Urban Cone. Love the original more, but this remix is very well done.

2. “The Heart Wants What It Wants” by Selena Gomez. So much emotion in less than a four minute time frame.

3. “Medicine” by 1975. I don’t know what it is about this song, but the melancholy is so bittersweet and tear inducing that it makes me happy… Is that weird?

4. “Why” by Le Sins ft. Nate Salman. I had my doubts about this project by Toro y Moi, but this song completely changed my opinion of Michael.

5. “Teacher” by Nick Jonas. Love. It. The lyric video is also brilliant!

6. “Together” by Calvin Harris ft. Gwen Stefani. This made me super excited to hear whatever else Gwen Stefani is working on in the near future.

7. “Kiss Me Goodbye” by Alexandra Stan. This girl is a rare European electro-pop gem. If this song is about a real event…jeez. Let me just leave it at that.

8. “Shoot Me Down” by David Guetta ft. Skylar Grey. I feel like I’ve been deprived of a voice like Skylar’s for too long. Where have they been hiding you!

9. “Isabel Street” by Robert DeLong. This guy seems to like writing lyrics that will get him in trouble. Me likey.

Favorite Celeb Instagrams

1. Mike Falzone and the Gentlemen’s Ballet. Reasons you can’t take Mike Falzone seriously.

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Typical Saturday Bro-out.

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2. Nick Jonas booty. Watch out Kim K…

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What a tease.

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3. Gordon Ramsay likes to play with his vegetables. I think the kids on his show have really turned him into a much more approachable kind of guy.

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Beets by Chef ! #MCJPlayWithYourFood

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4. Lucy Hale’s puppy! Can I dog sit for you one day, Lucy?

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❤️🐩 bye baby boy !

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5. Mike Tompkins and his green umbrella magic. The male Mary Poppins?

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Top of the mornin' to ya

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6. Joey Graceffa got a pup named Wolf. He’s so precious with his one blue eye!

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Me and my boy ❤️

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7. Mindy Project Kodak moment. Sometimes I have to stop myself for a second and realize that The Mindy Project is fictional, and that Danny Castellano is actually Chris Messina who is married to someone that is not Mindy.

Favorite TV Episodes

1. Castle “Child’s Play.” Beckett’s got some competition…

2. The Mindy Project “Caramel Princess Time.” The 80s hair. THE 80s HAIR.

3. New Girl “Teachers.” Ryan Geauxinue (Julian Morris). Enough said. I hope they don’t cut him off the show too soon!

Favorite YouTube Videos

1. SNL’s Swiftamine. Let’s say this was actually a product in stores. Does Taylor Swift get a percentage of the profits or…?

2. Frozen is real?! Props to this guy for getting on Jimmy Kimmel!

3. Rhett and Link attempt to become members of the Blue Man Group. I could not stop laughing at Link’s Lionel Richie shirt!

4. Marcus Butler and Niomi Smart superlatives. I’m with you on the spider precaution technique, Niomi!

5. PJ teaches us how to cut a pineapple. And how to decorate your abode with the remains.

November is gone and the year is almost over. Where did it go…